All eyes were on the tropics last week as a depression formed into the named storm Isaac, which soon became tropical storm strength and headed into the Caribbean towards Hispaniola. Haiti took the first hit with heavy rains and flooding. Cuba was next in line with high surf and over-wash on the northern coast.
As Isaac continued unsubdued by land and on over the warm waters of the Florida Straights, intensification appeared likely but lack of vertical alignment of the core left the center ill-defined and passed by Key West with relatively little impact.
Meanwhile, Tampa prepared for the Republican Party national convention in the coming week but switched over to storm mode. The forecast path would bring Tropical Storm Isaac up the Gulf of Mexico coastline and risked dangerous consequences for the low-lying city and convention visitors.
Stand Up Paddle boarding (SUP) is a great alternative board sport for the conditions we have on Anna Maria Island. Introduced to the mainland United States from Hawaii less than ten years ago, this form of surfing involves standing on a long board, ranging from seven to twelve feet, and using a long paddle.
The reason this increasingly popular sport makes sense for Anna Maria Island is that it doesn’t require waves for surfing or wind for sailboards and kite-boarding. It can be done on still waters, or it can be done in the surf. There are plenty of protected areas around the island where standup paddle boarding can be learned and practiced in relatively easy, safe conditions.
On flat water, touring or just poking around the waterways, longer boards in the 10 to 14 foot range have more glide than shorter boards from 9 down to 7 feet, that are better for turning in surf. Either way SUP is a great core workout and an excellent means of maintaining balance skills. A friend tells me it is not hard on his bad back. This makes it a good alternative to kayaking for people who have back problems when they sit for long periods in a kayak. Standup paddle boarding has the added advantage of offering an aerobic workout when aiming for speed. Serious athletes are taking it up for that reason and competitive events are becoming more popular.
Longtime local Shawn Duytschaver, known for the kayak rentals he has offered on the island for years, now offers standup paddleboard rentals and instruction at Palma Sola Causeway. He also sells the equipment. For more information he can be reached at 941-527-6355.
The local store in Holmes Beach, adjacent to the West Coast Surf Shop has been serving surfers’ needs since 1964, and stocks the best selection of surf wear and gear.
Gustav sent a few waves to Anna Maria Island, Sunday, and brought out a crowd of surfers and onlookers. A high tide and offshore wind meant the waves broke close to shore but some good rides were possible.
Some gusty showers were about the only impact Gustav had on Anna Maria Island but the rain and possibly a raised sea level from the effects of surge caused an above average high tide.